This anthology of essays on the work of David Kaplan, a leading contemporary philosopher of language, sprang from a conference, "Themes from Kaplan," organized by the Center for the Study of Language and Information at Stanford University.
Is Bayesian decision theory a panacea for many of the problems in epistemology and the philosophy of science, or is it philosophical snake-oil? For years a debate had been waged amongst specialists regarding the import and legitimacy of this body of theory. Mark Kaplan had written the first accessible and non-technical book to address this controversy. Introducing a new variant on Bayesian decision theory the author offers a compelling case that, while no panacea, decision theory does in fact have (...) the most profound consequences for the way in which philosophers think about inquiry, criticism and rational belief. The new variant on Bayesian theory is presented in such a way that a non-specialist will be able to understand it. The book also offers new solutions to some classic paradoxes. It focuses on the intuitive motivations of the Bayesian approach to epistemology and addresses the philosophical worries to which it has given rise. (shrink)
In 'Hempel and Oppenheim on Explanation', (see preceding article) Eberle, Kaplan, and Montague criticize the analysis of explanation offered by Hempel and Oppenheim in their 'Studies in the Logic of Explanation'. These criticisms are shown to be related to the fact that Hempel and Oppenheim's analysis fails to satisfy simultaneously three newly proposed criteria of adequacy for any analysis of explanation. A new analysis is proposed which satisfies these criteria and thus is immune to the criticisms brought against the (...) earlier analysis. (shrink)
Will a synthesis of developmental and evolutionary biology require a focus on the role of nongenetic resources in evolution? Nongenetic variation may exist but be hidden because the phenotypes are stable (developmentally canalized) under certain background conditions. In this case, those differences may come to play important roles in evolution when background conditions change. If this is so, then a focus on the way that developmental resources are made reliable, and the ways in which reliability fails, may prove to be (...) of crucial importance to linking developmental and evolutionary biology. †To contact the author, please write to: 208 Hovland Hall, Philosophy Department, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331‐3902; e‐mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. (shrink)
Recently, Estes and Arnold claimed to have “solved” the paradox of evolutionary stasis; they claim that stabilizing selection, and only stabilizing selection, can explain the patterns of evolutionary divergence observed over “all timescales.” While Estes and Arnold clearly think that they have identified the processes that produce evolutionary stasis, they have not. Instead, Estes and Arnold identify a particular evolutionary pattern but not the processes that produce that pattern. This mistake is important; the slippage between pattern and process is common (...) in population and quantitative genetics and contributes to a persistent misunderstanding of the nature of explanations in evolutionary biology. †To contact the author, please write to: Philosophy Department, 208 Hovland Hall, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331‐3902; e‐mail: email@example.com. (shrink)
In her latest book, Dr. Louise Kaplan, author of the groundbreaking Female Perversions, explores the fetishism strategy, a psychological defense that aims to tame, subdue, and if necessary, murder human vitalities. Through an exploration of such cultural phenomena as footbinding, reality television, and the construction of robots, Kaplan demonstrates how, in a technology-driven world, an understanding of the fetishism strategy can help to preserve the human dialogue that is the basis of all human relationships. Kaplan writes from (...) the heart as well as from the intellect. (shrink)
Part 1 sets out the logical/semantical background to ‘On Denoting’, including an exposition of Russell's views in Principles of Mathematics, the role and justification of Frege's notorious Axiom V, and speculation about how the search for a solution to the Contradiction might have motivated a new treatment of denoting. Part 2 consists primarily of an extended analysis of Russell's views on knowledge by acquaintance and knowledge by description, in which I try to show that the discomfiture between Russell's semantical and (...) epistemological commitments begins as far back as 1903. I close with a non-Russellian critique of Russell's views on how we are able to make use of linguistic representations in thought and with the suggestion that a theory of comprehension is needed to supplement semantic theory. (shrink)
This paper criticizes three assumptions regarding terrorism and the agents who carry it out: 1) terrorists are always indiscriminate in their targeting, 2) terrorism is never effective in combating oppression, and 3) terrorists never participate in fair negotiations as they merely wish to switch places with their oppressors. By criticizing these three prejudices against terrorism, the paper does not attempt to justify or excuse terrorism generally nor in the specific case of Sri Lanka which is examined. Instead, it creates the (...) necessary room for such justifications or excuses to be critically appraised by dismantling the popular myths surrounding terrorism. (shrink)
One important but infrequently discussed difficulty with expressivism is the attitude type individuation problem.1 Expressivist theories purport to provide a unified account of normative states. Judgments of moral goodness, beauty, humor, prudence, and the like, are all explicated in the same way: as expressions of attitudes, what Allan Gibbard calls “states of norm-acceptance”. However, expressivism also needs to explain the difference between these different sorts of attitude. It is possible to judge that a thing is both aesthetically good and morally (...) bad. While the realist can explain the difference by suggesting that each judgment makes reference to a different property (or set of properties), the expressivist cannot. She must show that what is expressed by the speaker is different in each case. This has proven to be difficult to do. (shrink)
In this paper, a two-fold strategy is carried out for gaining conceptual clarity in response to the question: What is terrorism? The first stage is to defend a broad working definition of terrorism that emphasizes the instrumental employment of terror or fear to obtain any number of possible ends. As proposed in this paper, Terrorism is an act or threat of violence to persons or property that elicits terror, fear, or anxiety regarding the security of human life or fundamental rights (...) and that functions as an instrument to obtain further ends. This instrumentality relies upon either an explicit or implicit threat of separate acts of future violence. It is argued that such a functionalist approach to defining terrorism captures the core qualities that unite the broad family of both political and nonpolitical terrorist actions. At the same time, the proposed definition avoids the problems associated with other approaches that either focus upon the terrorist’s ‘unconventional’ tactics, or the ‘innocence’ of their targets, or their coercive intentions. The breadth of the proposed definition allows for the more nuanced typological analysis in the second stage. The typology is primarily an analysis of the modes of terrorism’s instrumentality. Thus, the broad phenomenon of terrorism is divided according to factors of targets, the degree of force employed, agency, and the geographic context of the action. It is only by drawing out the diverse types of terrorism that the projects of morally evaluating terrorism and formulating a just response to terrorism can take place in a concrete and meaningful way. (shrink)
Biological research on race has often been seen as motivated by or lending credence to underlying racist attitudes; in part for this reason, recently philosophers and biologists have gone through great pains to essentially deny the existence of biological human races. We argue that human races, in the biological sense of local populations adapted to particular environments, do in fact exist; such races are best understood through the common ecological concept of ecotypes. However, human ecotypic races do not in general (...) correspond with 'folk' racial categories, largely because many similar ecotypes have multiple independent origins. Consequently, while human natural races exist, they have little or nothing in common with 'folk' races. (shrink)
Orthodox Probabilists hold that an inquirer ought to harbor a precise degree of confidence in each hypothesis about which she is concerned. Modest Probabilism is one of a family doctrines inspired by the thought that Orthodox Probabilists are thereby demanding that an inquirer effect a precision that is often unwarranted by her evidence. The purpose of this essay is (i) to explain the particular way in which Modest Probabilism answers to this thought, and (ii) to address an alleged counterexample to (...) Modest Probabilism meant to offer proof that Modest Probabilism is no better than its orthodox predecessor at avoiding unwarranted precision. (shrink)
This paper praises and criticizes Peter-Paul Verbeek’s What Things Do ( 2006 ). The four things that Verbeek does well are: (1) remind us of the importance of technological things; (2) bring Karl Jaspers into the conversation on technology; (3) explain how technology “co-shapes” experience by reading Bruno Latour’s actor-network theory in light of Don Ihde’s post-phenomenology; (4) develop a material aesthetics of design. The three things that Verbeek does not do well are: (1) analyze the material conditions in which (...) things are produced; (2) criticize the social-political design and use context of things; and (3) appreciate how liberal moral-political theory contributes to our evaluation of technology. (shrink)
We attempt to improve the understanding of the notion of agene being `for a phenotypic trait or traits. Considering theimplicit functional ascription of one thing being `for another,we submit a more restrictive version of `gene for talk.Accordingly, genes are only to be thought of as being forphenotypic traits when good evidence is available that thepresence or prevalence of the gene in a population is the resultof natural selection on that particular trait, and that theassociation between that trait and the gene (...) in question isdemonstrably causal. It is therefore necessary to gatherstatistical, biochemical, historical, as well as ecologicalinformation before properly claiming that a gene is for aphenotypic trait. Instead of hampering practical use of the `genefor talk, our approach aims at stimulating much needed researchinto the functional ecology and comparative evolutionary biologyof gene action. (shrink)
Biological research on race has often been seen as motivated by or lending credence to underlying racist attitudes; in part for this reason, recently philosophers and biologists have gone through great pains to essentially deny the existence of biological human races. We argue that human races, in the biological sense of local populations adapted to particular environments, do in fact exist; such races are best understood through the common ecological concept of ecotypes. However, human ecotypic races do not in general (...) correspond with ‘folk’ racial categories, largely because many similar ecotypes have multiple independent origins. Consequently, while human natural races exist, they have little or nothing in common with ‘folk’ races. (shrink)
Moral philosophers who differ from one another on a wide range of questions tend to agree on at least one general point. Most believe that things are worth valuing either because of their relationship to something else worth valuing, or because they are simply (in themselves) worth valuing. I value my car, because I value getting to work; I value getting to work, because I value making money and spending time productively; and I value those things because I value leading (...) a fulﬁlling life—and that valuing needs no justiﬁcation. The values that need to be justiﬁed by other values are extrinsic; those that do not are intrinsic. Most traditional philosophical approaches to value justiﬁcation are foundational in this sense: intrinsic values provide a foundation upon which other values can be justiﬁed. (shrink)
The topic of this essay is how non-realistic novels challenge our philosophical understanding of the moral significance of literature. I consider just one case: Joseph Heller’s Catch-22. I argue that standard philosophical views, based as they are on realistic models of literature, fail to capture the moral significance of this work. I show that Catch-22 succeeds morally because of the ways it resists using standard realistic techniques, and suggest that philosophical discussion of ethics and literature must be pluralistic if it (...) is to include all morally salient literature, and not just novels in the “Great Tradition” and their ilk. (shrink)
J. L. Austin famously thought that facts about the circumstances in which it is ordinarily appropriate and reasonable to make (challenge) claims to knowledge have a great bearing on the propriety of a philosophical account of knowledge. His major criticism of the epistemological doctrines about which he wrote was precisely that they lacked fidelity to our ordinary linguistic practices. In The Significance of Philosophical Scepticism, Barry Stroud argues that Austin was misguided: it is one thing for it to be inappropriate (...) under ordinary circumstances to (say) deny that someone knows that P, another thing for it to be true that she knows that P. Thus, to the philosophical enterprise of determining which knowledge attributions are true, Austin's form of criticism is beside the point. I argue that, attractive though it may be, this response to Austin badly under-estimates the force of his sort of criticism. (shrink)
Hempel and Oppenheim, in their paper 'The Logic of Explanation', have offered an analysis of the notion of scientific explanation. The present paper advances considerations in the light of which their analysis seems inadequate. In particular, several theorems are proved with roughly the following content: between almost any theory and almost any singular sentence, certain relations of explainability hold.
In this paper I argue that there is good reason to believe that we can be influenced by fictions in ways that matter morally, and some of the time we will be unaware that we have been so influenced. These arguments fall short of proving a clear causal link between fictions and specific changes in the audience, but they do reveal rather interesting and complex features of the moral psychology of fiction. In particular, they reveal that some Platonic worries about (...) the dangers of art cannot be dismissed lightly. (shrink)
The Depue & Collins model is intended to explain a normal human personality trait: extraversion. In contrast, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is generally considered to be a type of psychopathology not found in so-called normals; however, the clinical and neurobiological research done on ADHD seems to amplify and support Depue & Collins's model.
The concepts of adaptive/fitness landscapes and adaptive peaks are a central part of much of contemporary evolutionary biology; the concepts are introduced in introductory texts, developed in more detail in graduate-level treatments, and are used extensively in papers published in the major journals in the field. The appeal of visualizing the process of evolution in terms of the movement of populations on such landscapes is very strong; as one becomes familiar with the metaphor, one often develops the feeling that it (...) is possible to gain deep insights into evolution by thinking about the movement of populations on landscapes consisting of adaptive valleys and peaks. But, since Wright first introduced the metaphor in 1932, the metaphor has been the subject of persistent confusion, from equivocation over just what the features of the landscape are meant to represent to how we ought to expect the landscapes to look. Recent advances—conceptual, empirical, and computational—have pointed towards the inadequacy and indeed incoherence of the landscapes as usually pictured. I argue that attempts to reform the metaphor are misguided; it is time to give up the pictorial metaphor of the landscape entirely and rely instead on the results of formal modeling, however difficult such results are to understand in ‘intuitive’ terms. (shrink)
Immoralists hold that in at least some cases, moral ﬂ aws in artworks can increase their aesthetic value. They deny what I call the valence constraint: the view that any effect that an artwork’s moral value has on its aesthetic merit must have the same valence. The immoralist offers three arguments against the valence constraint. In this paper I argue that these arguments fail, and that this failure reveals something deep and interesting about the relationship between cognitive and moral value. (...) In the ﬁ nal section I offer a positive argument for the valence constraint. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that in at least some interesting cases, the moral value of a narrative work depends on the aesthetic properties of that artwork. It does not follow that a work that is aesthetically bad will be morally bad (or that it will be morally good). The argument comprises four stages. First I describe several different features of imaginative engagement with narrative artworks. Then I show that these features depend on some of the aesthetic properties of those (...) works. Third, I argue that these same features of imaginative engagement are morally salient, by virtue of inviting more or less sophisticated and reflective moral responses. Finally, I show that the overall moral value of an artwork depends in part on whether or not the prescribed response is simple or complex, passive or reflective. (shrink)
Rachlin's thought-provoking analysis could be strengthened by greater openness to evolutionary interpretation and the use of the directed attention concept as a component of self-control. His contribution to the understanding of prosocial behavior would also benefit from abandoning the traditional (and excessively restrictive) definition of altruism.
IT IS DIFFICULT for me to read Pride and Prejudice without empathizing either with Elizabeth Bennet, or sometimes with her father, Mr Bennet. Not only do my own responses to and opinions of the events and characters of the book at times resemble theirs, but even when they do not, I find myself seeing the event from Elizabeth’s or Mr Bennet’s point of view. For example, at the close of the book, Elizabeth’s former dislike of Mr Darcy has completely vanished, (...) in part because of learning of a number of good deeds that Mr Darcy has done very quietly for their family. When Mr Darcy proposes to Elizabeth (for the second time) she is delighted to accept him. However, everyone else in Elizabeth’s family despises Mr Darcy, and they also believe that Elizabeth still hates him. So it is easy to understand Mr Bennet’s surprise and distaste when Mr Darcy asks Mr Bennet for Elizabeth’s hand; after all, Mr Bennet still believes Mr Darcy to be prideful and haughty. While I am not myself surprised to hear Elizabeth’s response—the reader learns much more of Mr Darcy’s character than Mr Bennet does—I do have the experience of imagining being surprised. I am also capable of empathizing with Elizabeth, who is excited, flustered, and a bit ashamed at having so misjudged Mr Darcy early on, and I can imagine having these feelings for people I have misjudged. I can (to some degree) understand why she finds explaining all this to Mr Bennet so difficult. I go back and forth, as I read, between the perspectives of Mr Bennet and Elizabeth. These experiences of mine are experiences of the sort that I call ‘empathizing with fictions’, although we sometimes might describe such experiences by saying that we ‘identified’ with a particular character or characters in a story. (shrink)
The works of the later Wittgenstein resonate with aspects of the pragmatist tradition in American philosophy. Davidson’s work is similarly informed. We argue that because of their association with the pragmatist tradition, their work can be put to use by philosophers interested in social justice issues, including, for example, feminism, and critical race theory. Philosophers concerned with social justice continue to struggle between the extremes of an untenable foundationalism and a radical relativism. Given their holistic understanding of knowledge, meaning and (...) communication, the work of Wittgenstein and Davidson is particularly suited to dissolving the foundationalist/relativist dichotomy. We explore how this and other features of their work facilitates philosophy for social change. (shrink)
Since Phillipa Foot’s paper ‘Morality as a System of Hypothetical Imperatives’ was published some twenty-ﬁve years ago, questions about categorical imperatives and the alleged rationality of acting morally have been of central concern to ethicists. For critics and friends of Kantian ethical theories, these questions have special importance. One of the distinctive features of Kantian ethical theories is that they claim that there are categorical imperatives: imperatives which dictate which actions one should follow insofar as one is rational.This way of (...) parsing morally right action as a kind of rational action seems to side-step at least some of the anti-realist objections that other kinds of moral theories must face.1 Instead, the Kantian must defend the claim that failure to act morally is a failure of rationality. Rationality as a normative concept is sometimes thought to be more clear and perhaps more objective than other basic normative concepts. (shrink)
Perceptual learning mechanisms derived from Hebb's theory of cell assemblies can generate prototypic representations capable of extending the representational power of TEC (Theory of Event Coding) event codes. The extended capability includes categorization that accommodates “family resemblances” and problem solving that uses cognitive maps.
Crucial to bayesian contributions to the philosophy of science has been a characteristic psychology, according to which investigators harbor degree of confidence assignments that (insofar as the agents are rational) obey the axioms of the probability calculus. The rub is that, if the evidence of introspection is to be trusted, this fruitful psychology is false: actual investigators harbor no such assignments. The orthodox bayesian response has been to argue that the evidence of introspection is not to be trusted here; it (...) is to investigators' dispositions--not to their felt convictions--that the psychology is meant to be (and succeeds in being) faithful. I argue that this response, in both its orthodox and convex-set bayesian forms, should be rejected--as should the regulative ideals that make the response seem so attractive. I offer a different variant of bayesianism, designed to give the evidence of introspection its due and thus realize (as I claim the other forms of bayesianism cannot) the prescriptive mission of the bayesian project. (shrink)
Recent, well-publicized accounting scandals have shown that the penalties outsiders impose on those found culpable of earnings management can be severe. However, less is known about how colleagues within internal labor markets respond when they believe fellow managers have managed earnings. Designers of responsibility accounting systems need to understand the reputational costs managers impose on one another within internal labor markets. In an experimental study, 159 evening MBA students were asked to assume the role of a manager in a company (...) and respond to a scenario in which another manager (the target manager) has the opportunity to engage in earnings management. Participants provided causal attributions, assessed the morality of the target manager, and indicated whether they would change their judgments about the target manager's reputation. The study manipulated three between-subjects factors: (1) whether the target manager chose to engage in earnings management, (2) whether the company's budgetary control system was rigid or flexible, and (3) whether the target manager's work history was average or above average. We found that causal attributions are affected more by the budgetary systems when the target did not manage earnings than when the manager did. We also found that morality judgments were significantly associated with the target manager's behavior, but not with the budgetary system. In addition, participants' judgments about the target manager's reputation were more strongly associated with morality judgments than with causal attributions. We discuss implications of the role of reputation in management control systems design. (shrink)
Previous accounting ethics research berates auditors for ethical lapses that contribute to the failure of Andersen (e.g., Duska, R.: 2005, Journal of Business Ethics 57, 17–29; Staubus, G.: 2005, Journal of Business Ethics 57, 5–15; however, some of the blame must also fall on regulatory and professional bodies that exist to mitigate auditors’ ethical lapses. In this paper, we consider the ethical and economic context that existed and facilitated Andersen’s failure. Our analysis is grounded in Akerlof’s (1970, Quarterly Journal of (...) Economics August, 488–500) Theory of the Market for Lemons and we characterize the market for audit reports as a market for lemons. Consistent with Akerlof’s model, we consider the appropriateness of the countervailing mechanisms that existed at the time of Andersen’s demise that appeared to have effectively failed in counteracting Andersen’s ethical shortcomings. Finally, we assess the appropriateness of the remedies proposed by the Sarbanes–Oxley Act of 2002 (SOA) to ensure that similar ethical lapses will not occur in the future. Our analysis indicates that the SOA regulatory reforms should counteract some of the necessary conditions of the Lemons Model, and thereby mitigate the likelihood of audit failures. However, we contend that the effectiveness of the SOA critically depends upon the focus and attention of the␣Public Companies Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) towards assessing the ethical climates of public accounting firms. Assessments by the PCAOB of public accounting firm’s ethical climate are needed to sufficiently ensure that public accounting firms effectively promote and maintain audit quality in situations where unconscious bias or economic incentives may erode the public accounting firm’s independence. (shrink)
Phylogenetic information is often necessary to distinguish between evolutionary scenarios. Recently, some prominent proponents of evolutionary psychology have acknowledged this, and have claimed that such evidence has in fact been brought to bear on adaptive hypotheses involving complex human psychological traits. Were this possible, it would be a valuable source of evidence regarding hypothesized adaptive traits in humans. However, the structure of the Hominidae family makes this difficult or impossible. For many traits of interest, the closest extant relatives to the (...) human species are too phenotypically different from humans for such methods to provide meaningful data. While phylogenetic information can be useful for testing adaptive hypotheses in humans, these generally involve traits that are (a) not widely shared in the species or (b) fairly widely shared in the Hominidae family, and hence likely of a lower order of complexity than the sorts of traits evolutionary psychology has so far been interested in. (shrink)
Krishnachandra Bhattacharyya, one of the preeminent Indian philosophers of the 20th century, proposed that the absolute appears in three alternative forms - truth, freedom and value. Each of these forms are for Bhattacharyya absolute, ultimate, not penultimate. Each is different from the other, yet they cannot be said to be one or many. He contends that these absolutes are incompatible with each other and that an articulation of the relation between the three absolutes is not feasible. This paper (...) will review Bhattacharyya's presentation of the absolute in its alternative forms and will place these abstractions within the context of three specific religious traditions that he sees illustrating his point. Then, using a model based upon holography, I will illuminate with 'concrete images' that which Bhattacharyya could deductively formulate but could not logically integrate. Holography, the process by which three-dimensional images are produced from an imageless film - a film in which each part can reproduce the whole - will be used as a heuristic device to illuminate the simultaneous and mutually interpenetrating existence of the absolute in three forms. This model will illumine how these three forms can be conceived of as not the same yet not other and how these forms can be incompatible as absolutes, but metaphysically inseparable. (shrink)
The frequency of earnings restatements has been increasing over the last decade. Restating previous earnings erodes perceived trustworthiness and competence of management, giving firms strong incentives to take actions to enhance perceived credibility of future financial reports [Farber, D. B.: 2005, The Accounting Review 80(2), 539–561.]. Using an experimental case, we examine the ability of post-restatement actions taken by a firm to positively influence non-professional investors’ perceptions of management’s financial reporting credibility. Our examination considers credibility judgments following two types of (...) restatements – those resulting from fraud in which the character, ethics, and values of an organization may be called into question [cf. Copeland, Jr., J. E.: 2005, Accounting Horizons 19(1), 35–43.], and those resulting from non-fraud (i.e., aggressive accounting). Based on the information in the experimental case, non-professional investors take the role of potential equity investors and make a judgment about management’s financial reporting credibility after reviewing a set of post-restatement actions taken by a firm. The possible actions include changes in four corporate governance mechanisms (i.e., internal audit function, external audit firm, board of directors, CFO) and a buyback of company stock. Our results provide an important contribution to the literature by demonstrating that among non-professional investors, perceptions of management’s financial reporting credibility are affected both by the post-restatement action taken and the nature of the restatement. These results offer insight into the formation of a key credibility judgment made by non-professional investors following a trust-destroying event, an earnings restatement. (shrink)
Organizations are increasingly embedded with consultants and other non-employees who have the opportunity to engage in wrongdoing. However, research exploring the reporting intentions of employees regarding the discovery of wrongdoing by consultants is scant. It is important to examine reporting intentions in this setting given the enhanced presence of consultants in organizations and the fact that wrongdoing by consultants changes a key characteristic of the wrongdoing. Using an experimental approach, the current paper reports the results of a study examining employees (...) reporting intentions subsequent to their discovery of wrongdoing by a consultant. The results of the study indicate that perceptions about the seriousness of a wrongdoing, personal costs and personal responsibility related to reporting a wrongdoing, and moral-equity judgments are significantly associated with reporting intentions for a normal (non-anonymous) reporting channel. Only perceptions of seriousness and personal costs are significantly associated for an anonymous reporting channel. Lastly, while personal costs for the anonymous reporting channel were lower than the normal reporting channel, reporting intentions were similar across the two channels. (shrink)
Merchant and Rockness (1994, p. 92) characterize earnings management as "probably the most important ethical issue facing the accounting profession" and provide initial evidence of the ethical judgments of various organizational members. The current study extends their work by examining the extent to which an individual''s ethically-related judgments in response to earnings management activities are associated with the individual''s role.In an experimental study, evening MBA students read three hypothetical scenarios involving a manager engaging in earnings management. The scenarios involved a (...) gain from an operating activity, a gain from an accounting activity, and a loss from an accounting activity. Before reading the cases, however, participants were randomly assigned to one of three roles: a shareholder, another manager from the company who is unfamiliar with the manager in the case, or another manager from the company who is familiar with the manager in the case. Following each case, participants made four ethically related judgments. (shrink)
We believe that an account of the role of mirror neurons in language evolution should involve a greater emphasis on the auditory properties of these neurons. Mirror neurons in premotor cortex which respond to the visual and auditory consequences of actions allow for a modality-independent and agent-independent coding of actions, which may have been important for the emergence of language.
This paper examines the role of management’s earnings preannouncements on judgments about its trustworthiness by nonprofessional investors. We predict that management’s preannouncement decision and the resulting direction (e.g., favorable vs. unfavorable) of the earnings surprise influence investors’ ethical judgments about management’s trustworthiness; these judgments, in turn, are associated with investors’ other investment related judgments. We test our predictions in an experiment in which MBA students make investment-related judgments under four different preannouncement strategies. Consistent with our predictions, the results of our (...) study show that managers’ preannouncement decisions are significantly associated with investors’ evaluations of management’s trustworthiness. Specifically, holding the size of the earnings surprise constant, we find that judgments of management’s trustworthiness are damaged more following (a) a negative as opposed to a positive earnings surprise, and (b) the release of a preannouncement compared to when management does not issue a preannouncement. Also consistent with our predictions, we find that evaluations of management’s trustworthiness are significantly and positively associated with judgments of the attractiveness of the firm’s equity as an investment. Based on our findings, we encourage further research to explore whether managers understand the trust implications associated with their preannouncement decisions and the extent to which this understanding influences their disclosure decisions. (shrink)
Government has played a pervasive and largely overlooked role in journalists' ethical decision making. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules governing program content, and a libel law system run amok, are only two wats government influences journalists' behavior. This substitution of government ethics for private ethics creates minimum standards of conduct rather than challenging journalists to an ethical ideal. More subtly, government erects structural barriers to the development of the very technologies (like cable TV) that can offer journalists a more ethically (...) hospitable environment. In the information age, ethicists will need to be aware of, and wary of, government attempts to control development of the very media that hold the greatest ethical promise. (shrink)
In Practical and Scientific Rationality: A Difficulty for Levi's Epistemology, Wayne Backman points to genuine difficulties in Isaac Levi's epistemology, difficulties that Backman attributes to Levi's having required, and for no good reason, that a rational person adopt but one standard of possibility for all her endeavors practical and scientific. I argue that Levi's requirement has, in fact, a deep and compelling motivation that tips the scales in favor of a different diagnosis of Levi's ills — i.e., that Levi's error (...) lies simply in his having set insufficiently high qualifications for admission into the corpus that determines a person's standard of possibility. (shrink)
This paper articulates an infusion model of ethics education for engineering students by illuminating the value of a religious studies course on yoga. This model is distinguished from four other possible approaches that have traditionally been used to prepare engineering students to face the challenges of the work place. The article is not claiming that this approach should be used to the exclusion of the other approaches, but rather that it adds strength to the other approaches. Specifically, the article claims (...) that the infusion model provides an opportunity for students to reflect upon the foundational ethical positions emanating from the world’s religions and thereby provides them with a vista from which they can not only ask what professional ethical code applies in a given situation, but also ponder the nature of character needed to follow that ethical code. (shrink)
We estimate the effect on business start-ups of a program that significantly speeds up firm registration procedures. The program was implemented in Mexico in different municipalities at different dates. Our estimates suggest that new start-ups increased by about 4% in eligible industries, and we present evidence that this is a causal effect. Most of the effect is temporary, concentrated in the first 10 months after implementation. The effect is robust to several specifications of the benchmark control group time trends. We (...) find that the program was more effective in municipalities with less corruption and cheaper additional procedures. (shrink)
We report the results of a study that examines the association between gender and individuals’ intentions to report fraudulent financial reporting using non-anonymous and anonymous reporting channels. In our experimental study, we examine whether reporting intentions in response to discovering a fraudulent financial reporting act are associated with the participants’ gender, the perpetrator’s gender, and/or the interaction between the participants’ and perpetrator’s gender. We find that female participants’ reporting intentions for an anonymous channel are higher than for male participants; the (...) fraud perpetrator’s gender and the interaction with participants’ gender were not significantly associated with anonymous channel reporting intentions. Neither of the two factors nor the interaction between the two factors was associated with reporting intentions to a non- anonymous reporting channel. Results from an additional analysis indicate that male and female participants differ in the extent to which they judge the reduction in personal costs of an anonymous reporting channel compared to a non-anonymous reporting channel and that the reduction in personal costs mediates the relationship between participant gender and anonymous reporting intentions. (shrink)
The Sarbanes–Oxley Act of 2002 requires audit committees of public companies’ boards of directors to install an anonymous reporting channel to assist in deterring and detecting accounting fraud and control weaknesses. While it is generally accepted that the availability of such a reporting channel may reduce the reporting cost of the observer of a questionable act, there is concern that the addition of such a channel may decrease the overall effectiveness compared to a system employing only non-anonymous reporting options. The (...) rationale underlying this concern involves the would-be reporter’s likelihood of reporting, the seriousness with which the organization treats an anonymous report, and the organization’s ability to thoroughly follow-up the report. Thus, we explore the extent to which the availability of an anonymous reporting channel influences intended use of non-anonymous reporting channels. Further, in response to Sarbanes–Oxley and the environment of financial scandals that led to its passage, many firms are strengthening their internal audit departments, and providing them with greater independence from upper management’s direct control. Accordingly, our examination tests whether the intended use of the internal audit department as an internal reporting channel is greater when the internal audit department is of “high” versus “low” quality. Finally, the study investigates intended reporting behavior across three different cases (e.g., settings). Results show that the existence of an anonymous channel does reduce the likelihood of reporting to non-anonymous channels, that generally the internal audit department quality does not affect reporting to non-anonymous channels, and that case-setting affects the type of channel to be used. Implications from the study are discussed. (shrink)
This essay uses the recently published expanded record of the Queensberry libel trial to revisit the relationship between the 'literary' and 'sexual' dimensions of the Wilde scandal. The defence was guided by an integrated conception of the links between the two that shaped both the public responses and the legal proceedings, including the criminal prosecution. The conflict between moral literalism and aesthetic indeterminacy not only informed the legal determination of sexual guilt but also was inflected by social class in ways (...) that contributed to the construction of male homosexuality and of the 'literary'. (shrink)